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Ruto talked to Tiktok but didn’t threaten Kenyans with hell on earth

By Lucy Mwangi

The MCK desk investigates incidents of fake news between August 21 and 27 2023.

  1. A TikTok video that circulated showing President William Ruto asserting that food prices cannot decrease and that he will make life more challenging for Kenyans was false. The video was manipulated from the original footage of the Head of State delivering a speech. A reverse search of the video reveals that the original video of Ruto was streamed live on State House Kenya’s official YouTube channel on June 26, 2023, when he oversaw the commencement of a comprehensive capacity-building and empowerment program for boda boda riders at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.The comments made by the President were taken out of context.

  1. An image that circulated on Facebook alleging that Azimio leader Raila Odinga met US ambassador Meg Whitman was false. A reverse image search revealed that the photo was first released in a tweet by Raila on March 29, 2023, when the opposition leader met with US Senator Chris Coons. The senator was in the country with his delegation to engage in discussions with prominent national leaders. Coon’s visit occurred during the opposition leader’s protests against President Ruto’s administration, which he accused of doing nothing to better Kenyans’ living standards.

3.A claim circulating on social media that the Teachers Service Commission was in the process of demoting non-graduate headteachers was false. In July 2023, the Kenya National Union of Teachers declined the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms proposal to demote non-graduate primary school headteachers. KNUT deemed the proposal unfair labour practice and urged the commission to grant non-graduate primary school headteachers more time to finish their degrees. On August 22, 2023, the Media Observer team reached out to the TSC, and they clarified that no decisions has been made yet regarding the demotion of non-graduate headteachers. Through the commission’s official Twitter account, TSC refuted the social media claim and urged the public to ignore the fake news.

3. An image on Twitter of Azimio leader Raila Odinga meeting certain dignitaries in the United Kingdom was misleading. A reverse image search indicates that the photo was taken and posted on March 16, 2022, by the former UK Trade envoy to Kenya Theodora Clark during a meeting in the UK with Raila, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in office. Lately, the opposition leader travelled to the UK, as confirmed by spokesman Dennis Onyango, on the night of August 18, 2023, for private business.

5. A Facebook post purporting that Mabati Rolling Mills is offering a 25 per cent discount and free delivery of their products is false. The Media Observer team contacted Mabati on August 22, 2023, and received clarification that there is no ongoing campaign or promotion of that nature. MRM also refuted the campaign via its official Facebook account, alerting the public about deceptive social media campaigns targeting customers, and urging everyone to stay vigilant against false information. The company emphasized that their sales promotions occur solely on verified social media pages and their official website.

6.The claim that Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was impeached due to gross misconduct as per a screenshot circulated on X allegedly sourced from NTV Kenya was false and not recent.The Media Observer team conducted an analysis of NTV Kenya’s social media accounts and found that the screenshot shared was posted on June 9, 2020. This was during the impeachment of Waiguru for gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution of Kenya.The post follows a call to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, urging them to summon Waiguru in connection with the attack on Kirinyaga Woman Representative Njeri Maina.

  1. The claim that TikTok has shut down in Kenya, as stated in a Facebook post, was false. On August 15, 2023, during the National Assembly proceedings, a petition addressed to Speaker Moses Wetang’ula about the content on Tiktok was deliberated upon. The Speaker instructed the National Assembly’s Public Petitions Committee to review the petition and provide a report on its findings. On August 24, 2023, President William Ruto engaged in a virtual meeting with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew on regulating platform content in accordance with community guidelines. In a statement, President Ruto underscored the importance moderating TikTok content. TikTok has agreed to establish a Kenya office enhance content moderation and overseeing African operations.


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